L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Irate villagers block traffic
Case against liquor barons’ goons
Tribune News Service

A scene of a road blockade by villagers at Macchhiwara against alleged musclemen of liquor contractors
A scene of a road blockade by villagers at Macchhiwara against alleged musclemen of liquor contractors on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Macchhiwara, June 12
Hundreds of irate villagers blocked the traffic on the busy Samrala-Rahon-Ludhiana road intersection here for more than four hours this morning forcing the police to register a case against a number of alleged musclemen of some local liquor contractors who were, in turn, allegedly sheltered by influential politicians.

The accused had beaten up an ex-serviceman in the village for allegedly supplying liquor without their consent. The victim, Rattan Singh, said he had not supplied liquor to anyone and had only served boiled eggs to a policeman three days ago.

The villagers had staged an hour-long dharna outside the local police station at mid-night yesterday demanding action in the case. Senior police officials had assured them of speedy action but the people were forced to block the road when the police did not even register a case in connection with the incident.

Buckling under public pressure, the police booked five persons, identified as Gattu, DC, Vicky, Ramanand and Shankar, besides several other persons under Sections 323, 427, 452 and 148, 149 of the IPC. However, no arrests have been made so far.

Though the immediate provocation for the agitation was the inaction of the police regarding the alleged beating of ex-serviceman Rattan Singh by some alleged goons last evening, people expressed their resentment against the continuous harassment of the general public by the alleged goons of some liquor contractors, who had become a law unto themselves in the area.

The goons, working as private security guards as well as surveillance guards of various contractors including some local politicians, have been running illegal liquor shops in the area. They are always at loggerheads with the private armies of other contractors and often clash with each other. They beat up any person on the suspicion of helping a rival group.

Rattan Singh runs a small tea shop in the village where a policeman took drinks three days ago. According to his statement to the police and villagers, a group of 15 -16 youths descended on his shop last night and started beating him up with iron rods. The scene was witnessed by his son and other relatives who called other villagers for help.

He was beaten black and blue by the time help arrived. He said the youths were saying they would teach him a lesson for serving liquor without their permission. He said he did not even remember who the policeman was. The policeman had brought his own liquor and he had only served him boiled eggs.

The villagers were quite agitated at the alleged goondaism and went to the police station for lodging a complaint. However, they were stunned to know that the police was in the process of registering a case against the ex-serviceman for creating a law and order problem. Some employees of a liquor contractor had filed a complaint against him. The angered villagers then staged a dharna.



Shuttler dies in road mishap
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 1
The sports fraternity was engulfed in grief following the death of international shuttler Harish Chander in a road accident near Kolkata yesterday. Harish was the elder son of Mr Babu Lal, caretaker of the Shastri Badminton Hall of the local Guru Nanak Sports Complex.

According to information, Harish Chander, working with Eastern Railway and posted at Kolkata, accompanied by six players was going in an autorickshaw which collided with a truck. All of them were seriously injured and later Harish Chander and another player died. The name of the second player is yet to be ascertained.

Harish is survived by his parents, wife, son, brother and a sister.

Harish (27), started playing at the age of five when his father Babu Lal used to help players visiting the badminton hall. Then a senior coach, Gian Inder Singh came to his help and encouraged the promising boy. The coach noticed the talent in Harish and trained him to become the champion. According to the coach, Harish was the most stylish badminton player, the state has ever produced

Harish soon became the district champion and went on to play for the country in a World Badminton Championship in Hong Kong. He was the member of the Indian squad which toured England in 1987. He pocketed several titles at national level which included sub-junior national champion (1993) in Tamil Nadu, junior national doubles crown in Calicut (1995), and senior national doubles title at Kolkata (1996).

Besides, he won the sub-junior championships in the u-12, u-15 and u-19 years categories. On the basis of his performance during the Kolkata meet, Harish was recruited by the Railways. Subsequently, Harish added more feathers in his cap winning mixed doubles title in Junior National Challenge Cup and Rahimutula Cup at Hyderabad.

According to Mr Arun Dhand, former world veteran champion and member of the Shastri Badminton Club, they have resolved to extend financial as well as material assistance to Harish’s family. Anupam Kumaria, Ravi Jain and Kailash Prabhakar, members of the club said they had arranged for the body to be brought from Delhi tomorrow.



Couple to adopt abandoned child
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
A childless couple has decided to adopt the 10-month-old male child who had been abandoned by his parents a week ago in a public park in the Jawahar Nagar area here. His mother had handed him over to a couple walking in the park to take care of him for a few minutes, but she did not return.

The couple informed the police and a case was registered. His parents could not be identified. The couple taking care of the child were approached by their neighbours, Ms Sheela and Mr Jagdish Lal, a childless couple, who expressed their desire to adopt the child.

The child was handed over to them in the presence of some social workers. The Lals would initiate legal procedures to adopt the baby. Ms Jagdish Lal is a shopkeeper at the local bus stand. “The child is like a godsend for us,” said Ms Sheela.

She said the child had formed a strong bond with her. “He smiles whenever I hold him. I feel that he is like my son, she said.

“If the child’s parents come back, I will hand over the child to them. They have the first right over the baby. I will love him for life,” she said.



Two feared drowned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
A 21-year-old youth and a 10-year-old unidentified boy were feared to have drowned in the Sidhwan Canal when a group of devotees taking a dip in the canal near Bapu Asa Ram Ashram on the Ludhiana-Doraha road were swept away by strong currents this evening.

The youth has been identified as Pankaj Sharma, a resident of Block-J in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here while the missing child is an inmate of the ashram. His identity could not be ascertained. No body has been recovered so far. Only the clothes of the child have been recovered. A massive samagam is held near the ashram at the weekends.



Gosain’s outburst condemned
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
Several prominent Congress functionaries have taken strong exception to the outburst by BJP leaders, including former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly Sat Pal Gosain, against party legislator Surinder Dawar. They said Mr Gosain, who had suffered a defeat at the hands of Mr Dawar in Ludhiana East assembly segment, was making baseless and false allegations in desperation.

The BJP district president and Mr Gosain had on Wednesday called for a CBI probe into the assets of the Congress legislator. They also said that the person who possesses wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income should quit politics.

In a joint statement, Mr Ramesh Joshi, Director, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Mr Rajinder Soi and Mr Om Parkash Gupta, both secretaries of the PPCC, said the BJP leaders, and Mr Gosain in particular, were upset over the pace of development works in Ludhiana East assembly constituency and the increasing popularity of Mr Dawar. “The BJP leaders have stooped low to defame the Congress legislator and divert the attention of the people from their own misdeeds.”

Maintaining that the party workers would stand behind Mr Dawar, the Congress leaders warned Mr Gosain to desist from his senseless utterances failing which the party rank and file would come out openly against him and would also hold demonstrations and dharnas against him.



BKU flays govt on power issue
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
The Bharatiya Kisan Union has pulled up the state government for going back on its promise of supplying power to the agriculture sector for at least eight hours a day.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune today, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the union, said the Punjab Government had recently inserted big advertisements in several newspapers boasting of its promise to supply power to the farmers for at least eight hours a day from June 5 onwards but nothing has come out of the promise so far.

Mr Lakhowal said a deputation of union leaders had met PSEB authorities at Patiala at which the union had demanded power supply for at least eight hours from May 25 onwards. He said while the government was stressing the need for crop diversification, the failure of the government to keep its promise was proving counter-productive for the same. The farmers were being compelled to waste their hard-earned money on expensive diesel, he rued.

The union president warned that if the government did not keep its promise, the union would be compelled to stage dharnas at all power grids in the state.



Panic over reports of power shortage
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
With strong indications of a decline in power generation due to the falling level in Bhakra Dam, there is panic in the industrial sector. The PSEB has already introduced power cuts in the industry and in case the generation declines further, the industry may face further power shutdown.

It is feared that the PSEB might resort to scheduled power cuts in the domestic sector also.

Reports suggested that the water level in the Bhakra dam had fallen to a record low and in case the fall continued, power generation could be stopped.

The state right now is purchasing about 40 per cent from the central pool, while 60 per cent is generated on its own. Now it may have to ask for more power.

The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) and other industrial organisations of the state have been urging the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to purchase more power from the central pool.

The state is yet to take a decision on this count. Industrial sources said they were told that the Chief Minister was in touch with the Union Power Minister, Mr P.M. Sayeed.

Meanwhile, the scheduled power cuts have already hit production. Since a maximum number of industrial units remained close half of the time, the production has come down substantially.

Even in the domestic and commercial sectors, the PSEB has introduced regular and frequent power cuts. Reports from different areas of the city suggested that the power shutdown was becoming more frequent and unannounced. Mr Rajkumar, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar said, last night the light went off almost after every 15 minutes.

The PSEB authorities on the other hand have been attributing the problem to the massive load which leads to tripping down and the subsequent shutdown. Officials said for the time being the situation was not serious but in case the power generation comes down, the power cuts in the domestic areas may be for longer durations.



Mughal Sarai in a state of neglect
Lovleen Bains

The paste coming off the walls at the Mughal Sarai
The paste coming off the walls at the Mughal Sarai. — A Tribune photograph

The faded carvings on the ceiling of the Mughal Sarai
The faded carvings on the ceiling of the Mughal Sarai. — A Tribune photograph

Doraha, June 12
Time has taken off the ostentatious exuberance and esteemed magnificence of the Mughal Sarai of Doraha. Still much could have been preserved and another retained but for the indifferent attitude of the government, which has proved to be more devastating than the onslaught of time that the Mughal Sarai had to suffer.

Mughal Sarai, built by Sher Shah Suri in 17th century A.D, was a much sought-after place for fatigued travellers during Mughal rule . The respite offered by the sarai was unmatchable. But today, for a few inquisitive Ph.D. research scholars and several Muslim devotees, the sarai carries little significance for the dwellers around. On a casual visit to the place, one finds a small group of people playing cards, a fatigued worker resting under the shade of a tree or a gardner working.

The ‘sarai is approximately 168 m. square enclosure of battlement walls with octagonal bastion at each corner. There are imposing gateways in the centre on northern and southern sides. The northern gate has only remains of floral designs while the southern gate has flora and fauna paintings. Both gates are connected with a kachha pathway. The northern and southern sides of the sarai has 20 rooms each whereas eastern and western sides has 30 rooms each with a suite of three rooms in the centre. On the north-east corner of the sarai, there are some rooms which might have been a ‘Hammam.’ One can enter this Hammam, through a barrel- vaulted corridor. Many rooms have ceilings specially designed for light and ventilation. The walls and ceilings of these rooms were richly painted with designs executed in bright colours, the traces of which are still visibly.

Each corner of the sarai comprises a central room. All the rooms as well as galleries, are provided with slanting ventilators. On the western half of the sarai, now in utter ruins, is a mosque mounted with a dome. The front view of the mosque was richly painted, the traces of which still survive. There is also a single storeyed structure adjoining the wall of the mosque, now in ruins, probably meant for mullah’s residence. The big compound is being maintained as lawns by the department of archaeology. The sarai is protected under the Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments archaeological sites and remains Act, 1964.

The very entrance of the sarai holds a defaced notice board that itself defies the instructions being put on it. It warns a penalty of Rs 5,000 or 3 years of rigorous imprisonment to anyone who destroys, removes or impairs any part of the sarai. The inner building is crushing more and more with each passing day. The lack of maintenance and upkeep speaks volumes of government apathy through its failure to allot any budget for the purpose. The paste coming out of the walls, the vanishing wall paintings, the faded carvings on the ceilings are a proof of the ‘neglected’ glory of ancient India.

From the time the government took control of this sarai, one chowkidar and four persons have been employed for its preservation and maintenance. A weekly round of the in charge-cum-instructor has also been made obligatory. According to Mr Bhajan Singh, in-charge of the sarai, “malis have been employed to maintain lawns and check unwanted vegetation inside the building. But as far as the maintenance and upkeep of the historical monument is concerned, we are helpless. As no budget has been allotted by the government for the purpose for the past 6-7 years, the building has irretrievably collapsed at some places and in a very bad shape at some other places. Some work of landscaping and beautification of the masjid was done in the past but this was far from sufficient. The Punjab Government should also introduce some sort of schemes as done by the Centre as rural tourism development scheme so that the fading glory of our proud culture can be retained in its original form. Moreover, the general public should also show concern for its preservation. It should be a collective effort to protect what is fast disappearing.”

According to a villager, “The efforts on the part of the authorities concerned and the general public are almost negligent. Busy in their own pursuits, no one has time to give a thought to our eroding history. Even the villagers care-a-fig for what becomes of the building and its crumbling monuments.”

A tourist had a different opinion to offer as he said, “Who says we don’t have time? People go literally mad over the mere semblance of cultural past artificially constructed at some places, they shall be having ample to time to admire our original heritage. The general neglect is due to its’ lost original glory’ and non-preservative attitude of the authorities concerned. If maintained in the true spirit it can become a major tourist spot and attract even foreigners in great number.



Roshni adopts village
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
Roshni, a registered N G O at Ludhiana, which works on social issues, has adopted Jassian village for its social development. In a new scheme launched here today by Roshni, a vocational training school would be set up at Jassian for the village girls. Under this programme, Roshni team experts will provide counselling to village women facing domestic violence and adjustment problems in their lives.

Giving details of the project, Dr (Mrs) Ravinder Kala, secretary general of Roshni, said that as a first step, infrastructure and training facilities have been provided in the field of stitching. The interesting feature of this project is that behavioural experts of Roshni will impart guidance to the village girls for developing life skills, handling emotional problems while facing challenges of life and the ways of becoming economically independent.

Dr Kala further said that pre- marital counselling would be the part of overall psychological development of the village girls.

Dr D.J. Singh, president, Roshni, said in the emerging complex social scenario there is a need to pay attention to the interpersonal relationships of the people. Village people especially need to be attended in this regard. Dr A.K. Kala, vice-president, Roshni, said that a de-addiction camp would also be held for the addicts in the near future.

On this occasion, sarpanch of the village, Major Singh said that the village people are extremely happy about the incentives taken by Roshni to help the villagers in various walks of life, especially educating women. Mrs Sarabjeet Kaur, an educated housewife in the village, has volunteered help to Roshni in managing the newly set up vocational centre in the village.

Amongst others who were present on the occasion were Joint Secretary, Roshni, Mrs Jasbir Kaur and members, Mr Rakesh Jain, Kewal Budhiraja, Lekh Raj Handa and Mr Rajesh Aggarwal.



Protest against poor water supply
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
Residents of Post and Telegraph (P&T) Colony, Tagore Nagar, protested against the shortage of water supply in their locality for the fourth consecutive day here today.
Mr Jaswant Singh, general secretary, P&T Welfare Association, alleged that the Senior Superintendent Post Offices, Ms Manisha Bansal, refused to listen to their grievances about the water supply issue.

He further said that keeping in view the problem of water supply, Mr Balwinder Singh, District Secretary, BSNL Employees Union, met Mr G.S. Jhulka, General Manager (Telecom), personally.

The P&T Welfare Association leadership addressed the rally and condemned the attitude of authorities for allegedly threatening the employees.

They urged upon the Deputy Commissioner and the Civil Surgeon to intervene in the matter immediately and take suitable action for restoring water supply to avoid the spread of any water-borne disease and safeguard the lives of the resident employees of the colony.

They said senior officials of the department were misguiding the Chief Post Master, General, Punjab Circle, stating that the employees were demanding round-the-clock water supply.

They added that the issue has already been resolved in the presence of the GMT, Ludhiana. They claimed that the water was being supplied for six hours everyday and it was insufficient.



Bid to take possession of building
Our Correspondent

Raikot, June 12
Persuasion by religious leaders and police action foiled an attempt by an NRI to forcibly take possession of a small building housing a private primary school here today. The NRI, landlord of the school, tried to take possession by selling a portion of the plot to a nihang to construct a gurdwara.

Mr Kulwant Singh, the nihang, and his associates had allegedly thrown out the belongings of Ms Gogi Sharma, owner of New Janta Model School in the Ram Gali area. The police appealed to leaders of local Sikh organisations, who intervened and persuaded the nihangs to vacate the building.



DBA honours Atwal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
The newly appointed Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and a local advocate, Mr Charanjit Atwal, today shared his journey from the District Courts to the prestigious post with local advocates.

A member of the District Bar Association (DBA), Mr Atwal assured the lawyers that he was willing to contribute for the progress of the legal fraternity. Mr Atwal was speaking here at the felicitation function organised by the DBA after his elevation to the post of Deputy Speaker.

Earlier, the DBA president, Mr Balwinder Goel, extended a warm welcome to Mr Atwal on his arrival at new courts. Bouquets were presented to him on the occasion.

Speaking on this occassion, Mr Goel said, “Elevation of Mr Atwal was a matter of great proud for all of us. He is the first lawyer from Ludhiana to attain such a height. We are confident that he will perform his new assignment honestly and efficiently.”



CMC congratulates Atwal
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, June 12
Christian Medical College and Hospital has congratulated Mr Chiranjit Singh Atwal on being elected Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
In a letter to Mr Atwal, Dr Silas J. Charles, Director of the CMC, said,: “It is a matter of great joy and pride for all of us living in Punjab to have two distinguished sons of this state at prime positions, of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Speaker”.

“I am sure that the Almighty has chosen you with a purpose and you will fulfill the needs and purposes for which you have been appointed. We hope and pray that the state of Punjab will receive its due importance in the years to come”.

KHANNA: The Punjab Pardesh Balmik Sabha organised a meeting under the presidentship of Mr Madan Lal Balu here on Thursday to hail the appointment of Mr Atwal as the Deputy Speaker.

Members of the sabha said it was a great honour which was given to a member of the Minority community.

A press note said members of the Balmik society, specially Majbhi Sikhs, welcomed his appointment.



Shun obscenity singers urged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
The annual general body meeting of the Punjab Sangeet Kalamanch was held here under the chairmanship of its president, Mr N.S. Nanda.
The annual report of the Kalamanch consisting of the activities and achievements was read over by Mr Gurdip Singh, general secretary, which was approved by the house. The annual election was held and Mr Nanda was re-elected president. He was also authorised to nominate other office-bearers and executive members.

In another resolution, the Kalamanch made an appeal to all Punjabi singers and artists to abstain from vulgarity while giving their performances. The poets were also requested to avoid double meaning dialogues and wordings.

Mr Nanda said the manch also appealed to the Punjab Government to take care of singers and artists who had grown old and had no means of livelihood.



Book on Kambojas released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
The book ‘Kambojas of the old Persian inscriptions and Sanskrit Vedic literature’ by Mr Gian Singh Thind of Canada was released at Punjabi Bhavan here yesterday.
The chief guest was Dr Surjit Patar, president of the Punjabi Sahitya Academy, and the function was presided over by the senior vice-president of the academy, Prof Gurbhajan Singh Gill. Dr Gurdev Singh Chandi, Reader, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Punjabi litterateur Kirpal Singh Dardi, were present. The book is about the origin and kingdoms of the Kambojas.

The book carriers excerpts from the Vedas, the Upnishads, the Sutras, the Puranas and the Mahabarata. Dr Surjit Patar termed the book a ‘classical anthology while Professor Gill said Mr Thind had done a commendable job by writing about hidden truths in history. Dr Chandi said the book would be a boon for historians and students of history.



4 cases of assault registered
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, June 12
The police registered a case on Thursday under Sections 325, 323 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ram Dass, a resident of Labour Colony at Jawahar Nagar Camp, against Mangal, Bagga, Parkash and Buta. The complainant had stated that the accused came to his father’s tea shop at Jawahar Nagar Camp on May 28 and beat him up. His father, who was also injured in the attack, was admitted to the Civil Hospital. The reason for the attack was stated to be old enmity.

On the statement of Mr Rajinder Singh, living in Gopal Nagar at Haibowal Kalan, the police registered a case on Thursday under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 148 of the IPC against a goldsmith, Sahil, living in Rishi Nagar, and eight other unidentified persons accompanying him. The complainant stated that because of a minor issue, the accused intercepted him on the road, beat him up and threatened him on Monday night.

The police registered a case on Thursday under Sections 186, 353, 332, 295-A, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Karam Singh, living in Amar Pura and working with the municipal corporation as clerk in zone number 8, against Bitta and one other unidentified person accompanying him. The complainant stated that the accused came to the zone office on Thursday afternoon and demanded some records. When he refused, the accused entered into a scuffle with him, threatened him and fled.

The police registered a case on Thursday under Sections 452, 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Darya Singh, living in Shiv Puri Mohalla, against Sanjiv Verma, Jaspal and Naresh Kumar, living in the same locality. The complainant had stated that the accused came to his house on June 8 in the afternoon and beat up him and his wife and threatened them. The complainant further stated that the accused had parked their Tata Qualis in front of their house and his wife had asked them not to do so.

Knife seized: The police arrested Deepak, living near the S.D. Senior Secondary School in Shakti Nagar in Basti Jodhewal, on Thursday recovered a kamanidar knife from his possession and booked him under the Arms Act.

Gamblers held: The police arrested Nishad, Surinder Singh, Avtar Singh and Vinay Kumar, residents of Chhawni Mohlla, and booked them under the Gambling Act. The police said the accused were gambling at a public place and Rs 1,805 and a deck of playing cards were seized form their possession.

Held for jamming traffic: The police arrested Sandeep Pal Singh, a resident of Issar Nagar, on Thursday and booked him under Section 283 of the IPC and Section 181 of the Motor Vehicle Act. The police said the accused had jammed road traffic by parking his Maruti car at Mali Ganj chowk. The accused was later released on bail, added the police.

Liquor seized: The police arrested Shish Pal, a resident of Guru Nanak Nagar located along the 33-futa road, on Thursday recovered 12 bottles of Bagpiper whisky from his possession and booked him under the Excise Act.

The police arrested Baldev Singh and Ravati Singh, residents of Shambhu village, near Rajpura in Patiala district, on Thursday and booked them under the Excise Act. According to the police, the accused were intercepted near a marriage palace on the GT Road and 300 bottles of whisky were seized from their Santro car.

Case registered:
Ms Harpreet Chopra, a mother of two, lodged a complaint against her husband Sandeep Chopra, a resident of Phagwara, for allegedly beating her up and torturing her physically and mentally to bring more dowry. She had been married to the accused 10 years back and was now staying in a rented house at Sahnewal. The complainant had presently shifted along with her child to her parents’ house Division 3 at Ludhiana. A case under Sections 498-A, 506 and 323 of the IPC was registered against Sandeep Chopra.

Liquor seized:
The police arrested a person on Friday with eight boxes of smugled whisky from Chandigarh and Haryana. The accused, Harmel Singh, was nabbed from Ghulal village, 5 km from here, and booked under various sections of the Excise Act and the IPC.

Home Guard held: The police arrested a Home Guard, Harmel Singh, posted at Chandigarh, who had been looting persons for the past more than 15 days in the Samrala area after checking papers of their vehicles. He was nabbed from the main chowk and booked under Sections 110, 420 and 207 of the IPC.



Labourer ends life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
A poverty-stricken Punjabi labourer, Jagtar Singh (29), committed suicide by hanging himself from a wooden plank in the roof for allegedly not being able to arrange money for his medical treatment. 


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